I'm not that familiar with law school programs in that field. My suggestion would be to look for schools highly rated in the entertainment/copyright fields. I would start with UCLA and Georgetown.
Thanks! Any info that helps us begin is great! Are there places that you can find ratings? For example, (as flawed as they are) there are princeton review or Newsweek college rankings for different universities, etc. Anything similar that reviews law schools in terms of different programs?
zebes: all ratings are flawed and may or may not be relevant to real life. My recommendation is to contact a few attorneys practicing in that field, for example, in-house counsel for game developers, explain your interest and see if they can suggest some law schools whose programs they value highly (i.e., in hiring attorneys). That will be a better guide than any published ratings and the answers may surprise you.
I agree with dadofsam - he can find out who does the legal work for the company with whom he's working now and start there. He can also talk to one of those attorneys about his interests and get a better idea too of what they do. He may find that doing legal work in the field is not nearly as interesting as the business side.
Thank you both. Excellent ideas. I'll suggest to my s that he does this. You are correct. It's probably better to talk to actual people about their experiences at their respective schools.
dadofsam - Thanks for all the great info. posted here so far. Since it appears that you are well informed on the subject, I would like to get your take on my somewhat unique situation. I have been considering becoming a patent attorney for some time now and am finally ready to start working toward that goal. The part that makes my track a bit different is that I am already a practicing attorney licensed in Illinois, however, I do not have a science background, not even in the least (B.A.- Psychology).
So, I have a choice as to what additional degree I should obtain to further my goal of become a patent attorney. On the one hand, I have an interest in physics (minimum = math + 24hrs physics, but no degree), however, it seems as though most of those in the know on this site believe that a Masters, at a minimum, is necessary in that field. The school that I'm looking at also has degree programs in both electrical and mechanical engineering (math + 90hrs, degree), both of which interest me but would take significantly more time (relative to 24hrs physics).
If it aids in your assessment, I live in the St. Louis metro area. The final bit of info. is that I would have to do this on a part-time basis, as I work full-time as a prosecutor (6yrs).
What is your take?
DA 1984: for the sceince requirements to be allowed to take the USPTO examination, see [url]http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/oed/grb.pdf[/url].
I don't think that 24 credits will be enough, but these rules are the definitive ones. In any case before you embark on tbis course, you should think seriously about why, when up to now you don't seem to have been serioiulsy interested in science, you are thinking of becoming a patent attorney. If it's for financial reasons, then, if you like and are good at, litigation, you might try looking into becoming a patent litigator. USPTO registration is not required for that though law firms might (or might not) require it anyway.
As for trying to practice part-time, note that to represent clients competently before the USPTO you will need to keep up on both rule changes and case law changes. PArt-time practice, besides not giving you enough practical experience, might not allow you to maintain real competence in this field. I wouldn't recommend it.
[b]For high school students[/b]
Having seen repeated questions about preparing for a career in patent law written by students still in high school, and having given the same answer to all, I thought it would be useful to post it here on this thread, to make it easier to find.
Again, this is my [B]opinion[/B].
Since you are only in high school it's way too soon to be thinking in that vein. You're putting the cart before the horse. Instead you should be focusing on college admissions, including what you want to study. If you feel you want to study engineering or one of the sciences to see whether it's something you can do and like to study enough to put four years of work into getting that degree, then try that out. But don't decide on it as a path to becoming a patent attorney. Since you'll be spending a great deal of time over the next four years taking classes in that subject or related ones, first decide whether you like it well enough to spend the next four years learning about it. If not, then don't look to major in it; otherwise you'll be setting yourself up for the possibility of having four somewhat miserable years.
At this time you have the opportunity of setting yourself up for a good or even great college experience, so look at things from that perspective. Then you might (or might not) be able to decide whether you would rather be an engineer/scientist or write about inventions (and by the way, there is plenty of science involved in that). You might even (eventually) decide to forget about law school entirely, or major in something else entirely.
Good advice, dadofsam. My son was interested in patent law for a long time, but after 4 years of engineering and some great internships, had decided to hone his engineering skills via a masters degree for now. And maybe the MBA. Who knows, maybe law will come later. Or maybe not. But one thing is for certain: high school is absolutely too soon to "decide" on anything. The more you know, the more you realize that you know almost nothing!
Thank you for very excellent insight into IP law and specifically Patent Law. I'm currently in grad school taking an IP Law class and a Law of Marketing class where in both we are studying the black letter and case law of Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets. I'm planning on applying to law school in the fall and I think IP law may be what I want to focus in. My question to you is what do you know about the opportunities for IP lawyers in fields other than Patent prosecution and patent law? What about IP lawyers who focus in the other three pillars of IP law? Do these people usually work in Biglaw?
Also, to add...What is the market like for IP lawyers (non-Patent Lawyers) like these days? Is the workload/demand at the moment really high?
Ozmaweez7: There is an increasing demand for IP litigation attorneys at this time. for trademark attorneys the demand remains generally stable over the years; that is, there is always a demand for a certain number of new attorneys, mainly in law firms (both general practice and IP specialist). It doesn't increase dramatically with new technologies nor decrease dramatically with bubble-bursting in those same technologies. Right now there is an increased interest by companies in dealing with counterfeit products and new ways of operating via the Internet that lead to trademark issues.
Similalry there is a relatively stable interest in new copyright attorneys, sometimes in the entertainment industry, sometimes in general regarding Internet issues or computer software. You should talk to attorneys practicing in the above fields for more information, including best ways of entering those fields.
This looks like a great place to ask questions about patent law so here goes. I'm not sure if this was already covered in this forum but here's my question.
Suppose I have my heart set on becoming a patent lawyer. I have a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering from Columbia and Harvard respectively. Is it better for me to:
a.) Attend a top law school (i.e. Harvard Law) full-time for 3 years and pay 40K-50K of tuition a year.
b.) Attend a lower tier law school (i.e. Suffolk Law) part-time for 4 years while working full-time as an electrical engineer and making 75K-80K a year and gaining more exposure to the technical field.
It seems like I will end up with a J.D. in both scenarios, except that I will be in a lot of debt if I attend Harvard. Will the law degree from Suffolk limit my opportunities if I strictly want to do patent law? Are the technical bachelor's and master's more important when a law firm reviews my resume during the hiring process? I have not done extensive research in the field of law so correct my logic if it is wrong.
I don't comment on specific plans or schools. For one thing, as you note, it depends on your financial situation now and in the future. However, whatever law school you attend, grades are important to employers so do your best to get the highest you can.
Suffolk is a well-known law school in the Boston area; many folks attend it at night while working. If you plan to practice law in that area, employers probably would find it acceptable, as long as you earned very good grades.
Thank you for the response. It was very helpful. I was trying to get a sense on how much patent law employers weigh the engineering school performance/degree compared to the law performance/degree.
For example, would a great performance in engineering outweigh a poor performance in law and vice versa? Obviously, one should excel in both areas to be successful, but I was wondering how lopsided candidates are viewed.
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